Catalog Helps State Agencies Locate Recycled Items

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I can still recall my astonishment when I had my first experience with pop-bottle carpeting. Made of recycled plastic beverage bottles, the carpet is soft, it's pretty, and it's hard to tell the difference from carpeting made of more conventional fibers.

Pop-bottle carpeting may be viewed in the Oklahoma Department of Central Services, located on the first floor of the State Capitol. But that's old news.

This week, Paula Hearn, department director, presented reporters with copies of the Catalog of Recycled Products available through Oklahoma state contracts. Taking seriously the legislative mandate for state government to encourage use of recycled materials, the department has compiled a list of suppliers to make it easy for agency buyers to use recycled products.

Some of the recycled stuff costs more than cycled stuff, but some of the products are cheaper, too, she said. So when it comes to the question of whether recycled products are more expensive, it's really a wash.

"Unless there is a market for goods made from recycled materials, there will be no incentive for businesses to collect and remanufacture items made out of recyclable materials," the catalog said. "This is called closing the loop."

Using the catalog, agency buyers can shop for recycled laser printer toner cartridges. That's just the tip of the iceberg, because also available are pads, scratch and telephone; multipurpose cut sheet office paper; "guides" and much more.

Gov. David Walters said Fort Howard Co. in Muskogee makes a lot of the products, so use of recycled paper materials is not only environmentally friendly, but it also helps create a market for some Oklahoma manufacturers. . . Foundation May Aid State Finance Authorities

A state industrial development foundation to fund relatively small economic development loans to communities might be what Oklahoma needs, believe officials of the Oklahoma Finance Authorities.

Jay Casey, authority president, and Jim Fulmer, executive vice president, said they've approached the Oklahoma Bankers Association with the idea, and plans are in the works.

The foundation would be operated under the auspices of the bankers' association. The Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority and Development Finance Authority would be able to use the foundation on a statewide basis to fund smaller loans, and it would save the borrowers from having to pay a lot of up-front fees that are involved with going through trust authorities, Casey said.

The bankers' association seems initially receptive to the idea, Casey said. All financial services of the foundation would be marketed through the association.

"We want to provide financing for smaller enterprises at the least amount of cost to them," Casey said.

Trust authorities have legal requirements to fulfill, such as posting public notices, and fees can quickly mount up for the borrowers, Fulmer said. A foundation, even though it would be non-profit, is a private operation that is not subject to the same requirements.

Some communities already have foundations that small borrowers could work with, but a lot of places don't, according to Casey and Fulmer. . . Relations Between GM, Local Suppliers Encouraged

With General Motors Corp.'s announcement that the Oklahoma City assembly plant would not be among those targeted for closing, Gov. David Walters was asked this week if state and local government officials have anything in mind to help reinforce the plant's viability.

Walters said state officials try to think of things that would be very helpful to the plant's improved bottom line. One thing is to encourage the corporation to develop relationships with local suppliers, he said.

"The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and the state Department of Commerce have been meeting regularly with them and encouraging them to make that happen," Walters said this week at his news conference. …